September 24, 2023 2 min read

DCSA Guidance for Destroying Paper-Based Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)

Paper-based CUI destruction may be a single-step or multi-step process. To dispose of paper-based CUI in a single step:

  • Shred the paper using cross-cut shredders that produce 1 mm x 5 mm (0.04 in. x 0.2 in.) particles (or smaller), or
  • Pulverize or disintegrate the paper using disintegrator devices equipped with a 3/32 in. (2.4 mm) security screen

For organizations that cannot shred or disintegrate paper-based CUI in a manner that meets the single-step standards may use a multi-step destruction process where they shred to a lesser standard, followed by additional destruction processes. They may also use contracted or shared service destruction groups. As such, please keep the following in mind:

  1. Ensure CUI is secured while it awaits destruction.
  2. Determine whether the material will be shredded on-site or at another location.
  3. Establish the frequency of destruction, including pick-up when offsite destruction services are used, to ensure large quantities of CUI do not accumulate.
  4. Verify and ensure physical safeguarding measures for all stages of destruction
  5. Limit the time between pick-up and final destruction when it is conducted offsite.
  6. Ensure that only authorized employees and vendors have access to interim storage locations.
  7. Ensure the destruction renders the end product unreadable, indecipherable, and irrecoverable.
  8. Ensure CUI materials are not misplaced during the process.
  9. Ensure a validation or inspection timeline and quality control process are in place to ensure compliance with all destruction requirements.
  10. Document all processes used.

About Arlington

We are Arlington, Incorporated (Arlington), a team of innovative, solution-oriented, highly agile, and well-versed professionals with decades of experience in working with America’s defense industry. From emerging cybersecurity regulations to helping our clients solve complex security & compliance solutions – and so much more – you can trust Arlington, the firm that’s Dedicated to Defense®.  Learn more at